Force India could name a partner for driver Paul di Resta next week, the Indian Formula One team’s deputy team principal, Bob Fernley, revealed on Thursday.
At testing in Barcelona this week, Force India has given opportunities to former driver Adrian Sutil and current reserve Jules Bianchi. Sutil, who was a member of the team for five years until 2011, was behind the wheel on Thursday, with Bianchi due to take over on Friday.
When asked if Force India would make a decision on its new driver next week, Fernley replied: “It would be good. We’re giving everyone the amount of mileage they need. We’ll try and get all the information we’ve been collecting to the shareholders this weekend and then it’s their decision.
“We want to make sure it’s an even playing field for everybody and that, more importantly, they (Sutil and Bianchi) have the opportunity to get used to the car. Obviously one of them will come through and we don’t want to disadvantage them in any way.”
di Resta said his only wish is that his team chooses a driver capable of moving the team forward.
“I know both very well. They’re both good people and they’ve both been part of the team for a long time,” said the Scot.
“It’s all up to the board members, the key people in the team. They make the decision as to who they want to partner me.
“I’m very supportive of whoever it might be as long as they’re pushing me on and they’re a team player; that’s the important part.”
Meanwhile, a minor issue in the car prevented di Resta from doing the desired number of laps but he said the team has collected information on the tyres on the second day of the pre-season winter testing here.
The Scot did 62 laps in his VJM-06-03 car and his fastest lap came in 1:23.917 seconds. di Resta was eighth fastest among the 11 drivers who tested their cars.
“We stopped a little bit early today, but we still got plenty of running under our belt. Understanding the tyres is always a priority and we’re getting a feel for the degradation rates, which have been quite high, although we have to remember that the track temperatures here are lower than we can expect at most races,” di Resta said.
“We’ve run most of the tyres apart from the super-softs so far.
“Learning about the tyres and a new car at the same time is never easy, but we’re pretty pleased with how things have gone during the first couple of days,” the Briton added.
The team’s Chief Race Engineer Jakob Andreasen was satisfied with the outcome.
“We had a few small reliability issues with the car, which meant we were a bit short on our lap count for the day, but overall we covered off a lot of test items and tried some different set-up directions with the car.
“The track conditions have been reasonable with the temperatures in the mid-20s for most of the day and we’ve concentrated on understanding the tyres as much as we can.
“The new compounds are a challenge for all the teams, but we’re getting the information we need to be ready for Melbourne,” he said. — PTI